Sarah Perkins at an easel painting in her studio

Studio Chat with Sarah Perkins

Wed, 30/03/2022 - 09:49

Sarah Perkins Art specialises in pet portraiture and animal art and has also worked for several charities over the last few years. She recently rubbed shoulders with Theo Paphitis picking up her Small Business Sunday award and also received a letter from HRH The Queen.  We spent five minutes catching up with Sarah in her studio.

Tell me a bit about yourself/business/practice?

I’m an artist specialising in paintings of animals and commissioned pet portraits.  I’ve been an artist and resident at Banks Mill since September 2018. Being there has been an invaluable support in building my business. Since then I have created ranges of artworks, supported charities with my art and completed many rewarding commissions of beloved pets. I’ve been on TV, radio & newspapers and a national magazine! 

I balance my artistic business with family life and my health. I’m a married mum of three boys, along with being a dog mum to shih tzu “Sweep”.  We live in the lovely village of Borrowash, Derby. 

What are you currently grappling with in the studio?

I’ve had slower progress than  planned for 2022 due to Covid invading the Perkins household twice.  It’s been a frustrating start to the year but hopefully I’m on a roll now! I’m currently adding to my Marine collection. I have a seahorse on the easel at the moment, then I’d love to do a larger canvas of fish. I also need to squeeze in a portrait of my own doggy “Sweep” at some point! 

Do you have any rituals in the studio, what are they?

I’m a tidy, clean artist to be honest. In my studio everything has its place. I also like to surround myself with small pieces of art/objects from other creatives. I have a wall in my office at home that is full of colourful artworks by some of my faves too. In my studio I like to have a nice diffuser on the go and I have a crystal called aventurine for creativity vibes. My fave station to listen to on my DAB is Mellow Magic - it’s not too lively, with oldie songs I can hum along to, but that doesn’t distract me either. I’ve tried other stations and podcasts but I just can’t concentrate!

What’s your preferred medium/what do you work with?

My medium of choice is acrylic paint on either canvas or textured paper and my style is unique, using the paint in its dense form, along with layered washes of colour and dry dragging techniques. 

What do you have planned for future work?

I usually have a steady flow of commissioned pet portraits and as the year progresses I get busier, especially between September to December for Christmas presents. In amongst the commissions I like to create my own artworks. 

Who/What Inspires you and your work?

The variety of nature itself inspires me. I have a long list of subjects I wish to tackle. I also love the difference in characters in peoples beloved companions and the challenge in capturing those elements of their personalities.  I’ve always been an admirer of pointillism and was drawn to the works of Monet in my teens. There’s certainly an influence of that style of painting, however there is also an element of realism to my work which has developed within my creative practice. 


Do you have any helpful resources/advice that you would recommend to other artists and makers? 

For me I’d say it’s about going at your own pace and following your own path. It can be hard not to put pressure on yourself and compare yourself to other artists, but its best for “you to do you”.  I’ve also tried to share my progress with my customers/followers in an honest approach - people buy from people and I hope that my warmth and enthusiasm is welcoming and relatable. 

Which guests would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

I went to see Grayson Perry at Nottingham last year. I find him thought provoking and I love his quirkiness. He’d certainly be on my list. Raymond Blanc could be the chef for the evening, I find him so enthusiastic for his art form and I enjoyed his programs a few years ago. Bill Bailey would definitely be another attendee, I’ve seen him several times on stage and enjoy the tangents he takes with his comedy plus his musical interludes. He could bring his mate Sean Lock along too (bless him). There’s many more classic actresses and musicians I could think of, but I could go on forever! 

If you weren’t an artist/maker and could choose any career,what would it be?

To be honest I feel like I am now following my souls purpose - finally following my dream as an artist. Prior to this, I was a police officer for 21yrs. I was medically retired in 2017 due to chronic back issues and fibromyalgia. The police service was a rewarding career with many aspects useful to my current self employment. Further back I was a head fashion designer specialising in Lycra garments and swimwear for five years after leaving Derby Uni. So I’ve come full circle back to creativity really! 

What have you celebrated in the last 12 months, personally or professionally?

I was shortlisted for a mainframe award for my “creativity for good”. I was chosen by Theo Paphitis to be one of his winning small businesses and attended an amazing conference with other fellow entrepreneurs. I was commissioned by the oldest horse charity “The horse Trust” to create an artwork for their 135th anniversary which resulted in me being on TV.  Plus I’ve also recently been commissioned by a world renowned Bovine breeding company- Genus plc to paint one of their prize Bulls! And the pinnacle was receiving a letter from The Queen for my efforts. 

To find out more about Sarah visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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